Abigail Adams-The 2nd First Lady
Abigail Adams was the wife of John Adams, the second President of the United States, as well as the mother of John Quincy Adams, who later became the sixth President. Abigail Adams fought for gender equality and penned a letter to her husband to “remember the ladies” when drafting a new “code of laws” for the nation. Abigail never hesitated to debate her husband on political matters, even though he failed to make women’s rights a priority.
Dolley Madison-The 4th First Lady
Dolley Madison was the wife of President James Madison and acted with courage when the British burned down the White House during the War of 1812. Dolley was asked by her husband to gather important documents before the British arrived. Instead, she decided to abandon the couple’s belongings and save a full-length portrait of former President George Washington from the British, who would no doubt mock and humiliate the iconic president.
Louisa Adams-The 6th First Lady
Louisa Adams was married to former President John Quincy Adams and would mock her husband by writing satirical plays about him. Louisa Adams was also born in London, making her the first First Lady to be born outside of the United States. Melania Trump will be the second First Lady born outside the U.S.
Margaret “Peggy” Taylor-The 12th First Lady
Margaret Taylor was the wife of the 12th President of the United States, Zachary Taylor. Although she supervised the running of the White House, Margaret refused to serve as White House hostess. Her husband expressed no resentment for his wife’s refusal to assume the role of presidential spouse since she followed him to military forts throughout North America.
Eleanor Roosevelt-The 32nd First Lady
Eleanor Roosevelt was married to the 32nd President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and played an important role in both women’s rights and civil rights. In 1939, the First Lady defied segregation laws by sitting between white and black attendees at the Southern Conference for Human Welfare in Alabama. She also held an all-female press conference as first lady.
Betty Ford-The 38th First Lady
Betty Ford was the wife of former President Gerald Ford. After a bout with addiction, she created the Betty Ford Center to help others with dependency issues. The center offers treatment for alcohol and other drug addictions, as well as prevention and education programs for family and children.
Hillary Clinton-The 42nd First Lady
Before Bill Clinton became the 42nd President of the United States, his wife Hillary Clinton was twice named one of the United States’ most influential lawyers. Clinton was also one of the first women to run for President, but was defeated by Donald Trump.
Michelle Obama-The 44th First Lady
Michelle Obama is married to the 44th President, Barack Obama, and would become the first African-American First Lady of the United States. Before becoming the First Lady, Michelle was actually Barack’s mentor when he interned at her law firm.